Decisions by the N.F.C. to drop the Tarbes International and by the B.B.C. to run their own race from Palamos leave TEAM RML with nowhere to go. We await the end of January for some possible options.
(in the UK these drinkers can be
obtained from Solway Feeders.)
In the meantime a new, cheap and effective automatic or rather semi automatic drinking system was installed in time for the big freeze and has proved remarkably effective. The small drinking cups are made in Italy and marketed for rabbits, while here it is more for chickens, but they seem ideal. The normal nipple drinkers for chickens are not supposed to be very effective as pigeons, unlike many birds, like to invert their beaks in the water. I have seen the nipple type marketed for pigeons but preferred to give these a try. I always use chlorinated water so that came as nothing new all it requires is some form of tank kept at a height above the drinking cups to allow pressure to carry the water through tubing. I said semi automatic because I replenish the tanks I use by hand but you could of course have it fitted to a mains supply with a simple cistern float.
Over the weekend 15/16th January the racers were separated, having spent the whole winter together, ready for a first pairing in early February. At this time there are 14 old cocks for racing but until some idea of what, if any, races may be available it is too early to think of teams. There are also at the moment 21 late bred cocks but this number is subject to change, especially now that they are separated, as sexes become clearer. For now they are on a routine of one flight and one feed a day.
On Sunday 6th February the hens were let out with the cocks and they are now busy getting to know each other. They will be exercised each day and kept together to lay and sit for 10 days. What might have been the Barcelona team will probably now go to Palamos with the British Barcelona Club and if no International race become available for the Tarbes Team they will probably go to the B.B.C. Bordeaux race.
Sunday 27th February racers and hens flew out and were separated when they came in. Will remove nest bowls etc tomorrow and the cocks will then exercise alone until the second pairing.
Monday 28th March cocks flew out am and pm and hey will now continue that for the rest of the season.
Thursday 31st March Cocks and Hens flew out together in the morning and are now paired for the second time. They will stay together and the cocks will have three weekly tosses from Sawston before being separated ready for the first training race.
Sunday 3rd April all racers and their hens vaccinated.
Wednesday 13th April. A bit late with this report but all the cocks, including late bred yearlings, went to a first toss from Sawston on Thursday 7th April. I did not set the ETS so I do not know at what time they arrived but all the old ones were back OK however only 7 from 22 yearlings. The weather was fine and sunny with quite a high sky but there was some white cloud in it. (I do not like cloudless skies.) So this was quite a big hit and no real explanation. Three more returned during the next day and a fourth the next and that was it, 12 from 22. One went in to a loft in Chelmsford and the flyer there worked close by so he brought it and released it at work on Monday and today I have just been to collect another from Reigate, south of London, reported by letter. So it is training toss No2 tomorrow and all, except the one I picked up today, will go. I will also put the ETS on to get an idea of return times.
Apart from that most have laid out and they all seem well. I will put them all on a “cocci” treatment as from their return tomorrow.
Wednesday 20th April in the evening all the cocks, except the yearling GB10K47196 who is progressing well but still not quite ready for training, were basketed for the third training toss.
Thursday 21st April they were taken to Sawston and released at 11.40 with the bulk arriving at 12.32, two yearlings 161 and 163 straggled in a bit later. They were then left until evening time when the hens were taken away and so the racing cocks are then on widowhood ready for the training races.
Friday 22nd April saw the beginning of the racing regime and while they have been on two flights a day since the clocks changed the length has been determined by the pigeons, now they started off on 30 minutes which will rise through the week to 1 hour morning and evening. The feed will gradually change now with the gradual introduction of sunflower seeds and oil seeds to the mix.
Friday 6th May The yearlings had their final training toss today. So far they have been a little erratic as last week they took quite a long while to return. Today the remaining 11 were taken and the bulk returned in good time, including 190 who has been a little bit of a problem up to now, within four minutes of each other. Two stragglers 202 and 203 came in about 30 minutes later and 220, who returned with an eye problem probably the result of pecking in the basket about 3 hours late. At this time ten have been entered for the Messac race next week but if 220’s eye has cleared he will go as well.
Monday 28th November Sorry if this looks a bit thin on News but racing took over in May and news of that is dealt with on the respective race pages. In summary it was quite a reasonable year. Having managed to get 7 from 10 in the 2010 Tarbes International with the N.F.C. they all came through the training races and were fit to go to Palamos together with one pigeon left over from the old stock who himself flew Barcelona, but slowly, in 2010. They performed quite well as a Team and we got 4 from the 8 and had they all been timed in we would have taken 4th, 10th and I think 26th and 27th so that wasn’t a bad Team effort at all.
The same weekend four two year olds were sent to Tarbes with the L.S.E.C.C. and we got all four with three in the result and one a bit late so we now have a Team of 7 potentials for Barcelona International 2012.
Yearlings suffered a bit and while we got four that came through the test races one, the first of them home from the first race, had had his eye pecked out in the basket before the liberation so he will not race again and was put in the stock loft.
After racing a round of youngsters was bred for stock and racers and they have all had a couple of 40 mile tosses which leaves us with a team of 23 to go forward for the selection races as yearlings. In 2012 all the yearlings will race, cocks and hens, in order to provide a further selection layer for hens to keep.
So now is a time of sorting out the loft with a little bit of repair and some nest boxes to build for the stock. Otherwise the pigeons are together and fly out most if not everyday and so they will remain until the New Year. The stock will be separated soon, while the nest boxes are built, as some pairings will be changed.
Now to 2012